Saturday, June 18, 2011
Sins of the Fathers
Wexford feels nothing but annoyance when the Reverend Henry Archery goes poking into a grisly case of axe murder that Wexford closed more than twenty years ago. It's an imposition that Wexford never would have tolerated had it not been at the Chief Constable's insistence.
And so we see little and hear less from Wexford, his nose out of joint, in this second in the series that features the prickly chief inspector and his more tractable sidekick, Mike Burden, by Ruth Rendell. Instead the focus is on the desultory investigations of Henry Archery, whose son wishes to marry the daughter of the infamous axe murderer. Archery would like to prove the man, who has already hanged for his crime, innocent.
Barring that, of course, Archery would stop the marriage. What turns up in the course of Archery's questionings opens the eyes of more than just the residents of Kingsmarkham, where no one and nothing seems to be quite as it should twenty years hence.
Miss Lemon's readers have no doubt noticed the plural indicator in this aptly titled novel: for as the Reverend Archery himself discovers, not even the most chaste of men are immune to the frailties of the human condition -- a discovery, Miss Lemon might add, that makes Archery that much more sympathetic and gives the novels an absorbing subplot.